As a result of the economic conditions, many individuals and families find themselves in need of credit counseling or credit repair help. However, before soliciting the help of any credit repair company, it is wise to check and make sure the company is legitimate. Below are a few things to look for when searching for credit counseling.
Review the Credit Counseling Company Fee Structure
Legitimate credit repair companies do not charge very much for their services. Many of them offer services for free while others charge a nominal monthly fee. If a credit repair company requires a hefty downpayment in order to review and repair credit, more than likely the company is not legitimate.
Detect Unfounded Credit Repair Claims
Unscrupulous credit repair companies make claims that they can completely repair credit, remove bankruptcies, increased the credit score without damage. The credit repair process naturally takes time. The better the payments over time the better the credit score. However, individuals who are desperate to repair credit sometimes allow their desperation to guide them to buy into such programs only to later regret the investment. If a company makes hard-to-believe claims, there is a good chance that the company is not a legitimate company
Contact Regulatory Agencies
There are several agencies to visit to check the legitimacy of a credit repair company. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is an accredited organization with member associates throughout the United States. NFCC members must be re-accredited every four years. In addition to credit card repair services they offer debt counseling services and more. Visit their website to locate member organizations
Check the Credit Counseling Company’s License
It’s important to confirm that the credit repair company has a valid license. To do this, visit the appropriate state’s Attorney General Office. The Office of the Attorney General keeps track of business licensing. If the licensing information is not accessible over the web, call the office; explain the situation and request additional information on local credit repair companies.
After checking the validity of the license, contact the local Better Business Bureau to see the complaint history. Having a complaint does not mean the company is not legitimate. Sometimes unfounded complaints are filed. However, do your homework to see how many complaints have been filed in the past year or so and see how they were resolved. If the credit counseling company appears to have several complaints all alleging the same thing, it’s time to look for another company.
Report Scam Credit Repair Companies
If after performing a due diligence on a credit counseling company only to find that the company is not legitimate and they are perpetrating a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a report. The FTC takes such reports seriously as they are doing all they can to crack down on unscrupulous companies that take advantage of people seeking financial help.